Iraq asks for help in building atomic reactor

Iraq's foreign minister asks countries for help in building an atomic reactor for peaceful purposes.

Ben Ariel,

Flag of Iraq
Flag of Iraq

Iraq's foreign minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, on Saturday asked nuclear countries for help in building an atomic reactor for peaceful purposes, The Associated Press reports.

Jaafari made the request in his speech to the UN General Assembly's annual meeting of presidents, prime ministers and monarchs.

Saying the country has a right to use atomic power peacefully, he called for assistance "to build a nuclear reactor for peaceful purposes in Iraq, to acquire this nuclear technology," according to AP.

Iraq had three nuclear reactors in the past, located south of Baghdad. One of them was destroyed by Israel during Operation Opera in 1981. The other two were destroyed by U.S. airplanes in the 1991 Gulf War.

In his request, Jaafari cited the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty's provisions allowing countries to pursue peaceful nuclear energy projects. Iraq ratified the treaty in 1969.

It was not immediately clear how other nations would respond to the request from Iraq, which is currently in a state of chaos after Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists seized swathes of the country in 2014, declaring an Islamic caliphate in those areas.

U.S.-backed Iraqi forces have now driven ISIS from most of the Iraqi territory it took, and as of last month were closing in on the group’s last outpost in northern Niniveh province.